Wheelchair accessible parks initiative
Tue, 01 Jun 2010 01:18:49 GMT —
It's the place that makes memories that stays with you for a lifetime.
"My parents used to take me to the park," said Sandra Pacheco.
But when your life is bound to a wheelchair, "My son doesn't have those memories because it's not accessible to him," said Pacheco.
Sandra and Juan Pacheco have a son, Joshua, with Cerebral Palsy.
He's been in a wheelchair since he was 8 months old.
"Unfortunately there's not a whole lot he could do," said Juan Pacheco.
That means missing out on childhood memories on the playground.
"It's kind of hard just seeing him sitting here and watching other kids playing around," said Sandra.
The Pacheco family said they wish Joshua could play in the park like other kids.
"But once we're here, the equipment, as you can see behind me, is really only available for children who are able to walk and climb and so forth," said Juan.
But soon that could change.
"We'd like it to become part of the design that you always, from this point forward, make sure that you have some area for a child in a wheelchair that can access and can enjoy," said Sergio Zarate.
Sergio Zarate is co-founder of Down by the Border, a special needs advocacy group.
He's pushed for a Texas bill that would give children in wheelchairs the opportunity to play at the playground.
The legislation would require all parks to be 10 to 15 percent wheelchair accessible.
"They'll be able to enjoy it just like any other child," said Zarate.
The games could range from elevated sandboxes or a ramp to get to picture blocks.
"It'd be really nice if they could pass that law," said Sandra Pacheco.
Down by the Border hopes the bill will be introduced in January of next year.
Already, Zarate said State Representatives like Eddie Lucio III, is interested in backing the bill.